All mental hygiene is based on the core practice of doing nothing. Most of us are good at wasting time, staring at the wall while telling ourselves we should be working. We call this doing nothing, but our brains are furiously active. We think constantly, and our thinking is often rife with distress. — Martha Beck
We give so much importance to our physical appearance and our self-created masks that we forget to nurture our inner self and our mental state of being. At the end of the day, the make up will wear off, but its your state of mind that determines the quality of your life and guide you on the path of spiritual growth.
If you look after your psychological well-being, then it inevitably transforms into healthy living (physical health, because the two are interconnected. So a regular “checkup” on our thoughts will maintain your mental hygiene. Our perception, experiences, feelings, and the ability to think and act are all processed by our mind. Doesn’t that require us to keep our mind healthy? Here’s how we can improve our mental hygiene –
1) Don’t overthink or overanalyse
We overthink aspects of our lives, whether it’s regrets, decisions, self-worth, or general worries about the future. We’re so often stuck inside our own heads that it feels like there’s no way out. In order to detox your mind from overthinking, stop thinking and take action, direct your attention on things that matter.
If our mind is used to over analysing, it gets paralysed to make spontaneous decisions. In sports, this situation is called analysis-paralysis. Train your mind to focus on the present, since the present moment is all you have!
2) Help yourself out of repetitive thinking
“If danger arises in the present moment, there may be an emotion. There may even be pain. But that’s a challenge, not a problem. For a problem to exist, you need time and repetitive mind activity.” — Eckhart Tolle
Repetitive thoughts always interferes with our ability to complete a task or take decisions and this in turn, causes us more anxiety. Always help your mind out of repetitive thinking. Notice your pattern of thinking by making mental notes of your thoughts or keep a journal.
It is quite easy for the human mind to sink into the realm of negative thoughts. Stop. Introspect. Embrace those unwanted/repetitive thoughts and breathe. Make a positive self statement about a feeling which instills confidence.
3) Accept change!
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” — Lao Tzu
Many people fear change because it pushes them out of their comfort zone. But change is the most natural phenomenon in life, for without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom.
Embrace change and convert it into an opportunity for growth, and you will begin to see things from a different perspective.
4) Meditation for a healthy mind
Everyday more research is drawing a clearer link between meditation and human health. Its effect on our mind, body and soul is undeniable. It can increase attention, combat stress, boost overall health, and even foster compassion. Meditation is one of the most effective tool to maintain mental hygiene.
Nothing is as medicinal as a good sense of humour. It has been proved that while laughing the human brain secretes the ‘feel good’ hormone endorphins and there by reducing the levels of cortisol – a stress hormone responsible for more than 70-80 percent of illnesses.
6) Be Thankful
According to a research, being thankful keeps you happy! People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. Scientists have even noted that gratitude is associated with improved health.
Expressing gratitude opens our heart and moves us from fear to love. When we appreciate something, our ego moves out of the way and we connect with our soul. Gratitude brings our attention into the present, which is the only place where miracles can unfold. “If our religion is based on salvation, our chief emotions will be fear and trembling. If our religion is based on wonder, our chief emotion will be gratitude.” ~ Carl Jung
These simple ways of maintaining mental hygiene can cleanse the mind of habits and behaviors that no longer serve you. Like Buddha said, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”